Brent Underwood is the owner of Cerro Gordo, an original boomtown silver mine, established in 1865. He is also the creator of “GhostTownLiving” where he chronicles his adventures on YouTube. Brent currently lives on the mountain above Death Valley with no running water, seven cats, six goats, and at least one ghost. He’s the author of Ghost Town Living – Mining For Purpose and Chasing Dreams at the Edge of Death Valley.

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The Learning Leader Show

  • “If it can’t be grown, it must be mined. It’s a truth of human progress.”
  • The story of Burro Schmidt… He spent 38 years hand-digging a tunnel through a ½ mile of solid granite even though 19 years in, they built a road that made his tunnel obsolete. But he found his purpose and wanted to finish the job. Some may think that’s crazy, but I admire people like that.
  • Be Your Own Light – “I don’t look for hope. I look for evidence.”
  • Seek Awe – Understand your smallness in the world and how it’s all interconnected.
  • Read the “Thank You Project” by AJ Jacobs.
  • “We love to see people who have found their purpose.”
  • There are long-term consequences of short-term thinking.
  • Robert Greene’s advice to Brent – Combine your unique and different skill sets to find your purpose.
  • Brent dedicated his book to his parents, Liz and Bill, and sister Laura.
  • I appreciate Brent’s outlook on life and permitting yourself to live a life of adventure and to think BIG. You can still wisely do this. Brent still works a day job with the Daily Stoic but is also taking a big swing at the same time. This is an option that is available for most of us. It’s on us to take action and do it.
  • I’ve known Brent for about a decade. In his previous role with Brass Check (that’s Ryan Holiday’s marketing company), one of his jobs was to get authors on podcasts. And I love how precise Brent was in his outreach. He never sent me an author unless he had done the work ahead of time to ensure they were a good fit for my show. I appreciate the care he puts into his work and has for a long time.
  • “When I think back 4 years, before Cerro Gordo, life was pretty stable. I had a good job, a solid apartment, and friends. It felt like a life that I could have floated through forever. I just kept feeling like I was missing out on…something. Something to grab my attention and not let go. To avoid, as Thoreau said, a life of “quiet desperation.” ⁣A lot has changed since then. Life certainly isn’t comfortable. There were 3 feet of snow to shovel before I could get to the outhouse this morning. There have been fires, floods, and earthquakes. I’ve lost too much weight, friends, partners, money. A lot more. I wouldn’t change a thing. I feel fulfilled in a way I never knew was possible. Building something real that I care about. Connected to my work, the world, the past. Meeting so many passionate people who care deeply about the same things. ⁣”
  • Get To Work – JP Morgan said every man has two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason…
  • The siren song of Cerro Gordo, a desolate ghost town perched high above Death Valley, has seduced thousands since the 1800s, but few fell harder for it than Brent Underwood, who moved there in March of 2020, only to be immediately snowed in and trapped for weeks.
    • It had once been the largest silver mine in California. Over $500 million worth of ore was pulled from the miles of tunnels below the town. Butch Cassidy, Mark Twain, and other infamous characters of the American West were rumored to have stayed there. Newspapers reported a murder a week. But that was over 150 years ago.
    • Brent Underwood bet his life savings—and his life—on this majestic, hardscrabble town that had broken its fair share of ambitious men and women. What followed were fires, floods, earthquakes, and perhaps strangest, fame. Ghost Town Living tells the story of a man against the elements, a forgotten historic place against the modern world, and a dream against all odds—one that has captured millions of followers around the world.
  • After graduating from Columbia University, Brent worked briefly for an investment bank in New York City. After one month, he quit and backpacked across Central and South America. Upon returning to New York, he founded a hostel in Brooklyn. In December 2014 Brent founded HK Austin, a hostel in Austin, Texas after staying in 150 hostels across 30 countries. For 2015, HK Austin was the highest-rated hostel in the United States.
  • “I’m not going to call it a ghost town anymore. I’m going to call it home.”
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Time Stamps

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Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode #300: AJ & Keith Hawk – How To Instill Work Ethic & Curiosity In Your Children

Episode #303General Stanley McChrystal – The New Definition Of Leadership