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Cliff Hartono, CEO and Co-Founder of Jasri Partners, Believes You Need to Find Authors to Relate to

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Cliff Hartono is the CEO of Jasri Partners, and founder of Set in Stone Gallery.

At Jasri Partners, Cliff provides advice for emerging hedge fund managers and connects them to investors globally. He co-founded the company together with Omar Taheri (whom we previously interviewed here, at The CEO Library – thanks, Omar, for connecting us to Cliff!).

Cliff is also running Set in Stone Gallery, Asia’s premier natural history dealer. A trilobite Cliff received when he was five sparked his lifelong passion for natural history. In 2012, he decided to pursue this passion full-time. Set in Stone Gallery sources, exhibits and sells aesthetic fossil and mineral specimens for private collections and interior design. The first exhibition of the Gallery was held in April 2013.

German born, Cliff grew up in Singapore – where he’s currently based. Fluent in German, Mandarin, and Bahasa Indonesia, he’s an avid surfer and martial arts practitioner. He attended the Stern School of Business at New York University (has a Bachelor of Science in Finance Concentration).

Prior to starting Jasri Partners, Cliff held various roles within financial services. He was responsible for structuring and business development at Credit Suisse ETF (Exchange-Traded Fund) in London, has trading experience at Flow Traders, and was an execution trader of futures at Credit Suisse in Tokyo.

From our interview you’ll learn out more about the books that helped Cliff apply the Stoic wisdom in a modern context, what underappreciated people in history he finds fascinating, where he takes book recommendations from, and more.

What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.

One of my favourite business books is probably The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. Taking inspiration from Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and other historical figures, he successfully gives the reader actionable steps that apply Stoicism in a modern context.

Favourite quote:
“Give yourself clarity, not sympathy—there’ll be plenty of time for that later”

My favourite non-business book is probably Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa. It is a fictionalized history of Musashi Miyamoto, who is known in Japan as its greatest swordsman and warrior. He is probably one of the most underappreciated people in history – after being undefeated in countless duels, he became an accomplished architect, painter, sculptor, writer and philosopher. A captivating book about an endlessly fascinating person.

Favourite quote:
“There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.”

Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?

The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss was a very inspiring book for me when I was still working at an investment bank. I wasn’t very satisfied with my own growth at the time. The 4-hour Workweek book changed my perspective on success, work and lifestyle. I never completely applied all his tips and tactics, but his philosophies were invaluable. One of my favourite lines in his book is “Focus on being productive instead of busy.” Such a simple and powerful idea – yet few do it well.

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What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)

I think I don’t really have a very traditional career path where I had an exact role model to follow. People have different backgrounds, passions and personalities so it is difficult for me to make a shortlist of books that would work for everyone. What I can advise though, is for them to find a book whose author they can relate to – then the advice the author offers will be more applicable to their own lives.

I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?

I read daily and utilize all formats. I read fiction and novels on my kindle Voyage. For non-fiction I like to use the desktop kindle application as it enables me to easily highlight and to make notes. For graphic novels I naturally like the hardcopy versions and the same applies for any books which have large illustrations or graphics.

How do you make time for reading?

Instead of going on my social media, I try to use the kindle app on my phone for some quick reading while commuting or waiting for my next appointment.

Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?

The desktop Kindle application is very useful for this.

Do you prioritize the books recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?

Tim Ferriss’ latest book, Tribe of Mentors, contains over 130+ interviews with a diverse collection of top athletes, artists, CEOs and entrepreneurs. One of the questions he asks is “what is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?”. This has given me an extensive booklist recommended by amazing high performers like Dustin Moskovitz, Gary Vaynerchuk, Eric Ripert, Kelly Slater and Neil Gaiman (just to name a few).

Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?

I’m reading Ray Dalio’s Principles. While I think it is challenging to apply his Radical Transparency principles to most organisations, especially here in Asia, there is much to be learnt from his thought process in analyzing problems. I hope to become more systematic in my own decision-making approach from this book.

Favourite quote:
“Don’t let fears of what others think of you stand in your way.”

Links where you can follow Cliff Hartono or find out more about his projects:

All books mentioned by Cliff Hartono in this interview:

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