A long-abandoned silver mine for sale sounded like an adventure too great to pass up, but it turned into much more—a calling, a community of millions, and hard-earned lessons about chasing impractical dreams.
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.
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.
He came looking for a challenge different from the traditional 9-5 job but discovered something much more fulfilling—an undertaking that would call on all of himself and push him beyond what he knew he was capable of. In fact, to bring this abandoned town back to life, Brent had to learn a wealth of new self-sufficiency and problem-solving skills from many generous mentors.
Ghost Town Living is a thrilling read, but it’s also a call to action—to question our too-practical lives and instead seek adventure, build something original, redefine work, and embrace the unknown. It shows what it means to dedicate your life to something, to take a mighty swing at a crazy idea and, like the cardsharps who once haunted Cerro Gordo, go all in.
About the Author
Brent Underwood is the owner of Cerro Gordo, an original boomtown silver mine, established in 1865. Brent currently lives on a mountain above Death Valley with no running water, seven cats, six goats, and at least one ghost.
“[Underwood’s story] continues to be of endless fascination.”—The New York Times
“It is . . . a romantic way of life. But it hasn’t been without its share of difficulties, worries, and setbacks.”—VICE
“Who knows? Maybe Cerro Gordo has one last boom in it after all.”—CBS News
“Inspiring and meditative—the story of man vs nature and man vs himself . . . and what we’re capable of when we throw ourselves into something that we believe in.”—Ryan Holiday, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Obstacle is the Way “Brent is the true soul of the town—the passion and love for this project is what brings it to life and why it has been able to impact so many people across the world.”—Sam Golbach of Sam and Colby
“From the very first page, Ghost Town Living captured my imagination. Underwood's odyssey is a stark departure from the familiar shores of achievement and modern comforts, plunging into a realm brimming with risk, raw adventure, and at times, sheer turmoil. This is a clarion call to delve into the depths of one's aspirations, to court the unknown, and to relentlessly chase the thrill of exploration.”—Molly Bloom, author of Molly’s Game