• After 20 years of research, two doctors and best friends, answer the perplexing question: how do you find true happiness?
  • Why is it so hard to achieve happiness that endures? Why are there so many movies and books around finding happiness? Are they effective?
  • We all exist in one of the Ten Worlds at any given moment in time – the World in which we spend most of our time will determine how happy we are able to be (Anyone can take the quiz at
  • There is another kind of happiness that can’t be destroyed by anything and that is the kind of happiness found in the tenth world, Enlightenment. Do the doctors reach/find this type of happiness; and if so, how?


Everyone wants happiness that endures. So why are so few people able to achieve it? Having spent over two decades researching the answer to this question, Drs. Lickerman and ElDifrawi argue in this eminently practical and groundbreaking book–presented as a series of Platonic dialogues recounting real-life patient experiences–that enduring happiness eludes us because we’re profoundly confused about what happiness is.

According to Lickerman and ElDifrawi, we all have nine basic beliefs about how to achieve lasting happiness, and all of them are wrong. Unfortunately, these nine erroneous beliefs about how to achieve lasting happiness–what Lickerman and ElDifrawi term the core delusions–are so deeply embedded in our thinking that we can’t escape them. In fact, they’re so foundational they give rise to nine basic life-conditions, or worlds, through which we all continuously cycle. From lowest to highest, they are: Hell, Hunger, Animality, Anger, Tranquility, Rapture, Learning, Realization, and Compassion. Yet because these worlds are created by delusions, the happiness they produce is fragile and temporary.

But there exists another type of happiness. A happiness that can’t be destroyed by anything. A happiness that’s absolute. Though few have ever experienced this kind of happiness–the transcendent happiness found in the tenth world, the world of Enlightenment–it’s a happiness, Lickerman and ElDifrawi argue, that can be experienced by us all. Founded neither in mysticism nor the supernatural, the world of Enlightenment is discussed for the first time as a psychological state created by a belief in a core truth, a core truth that if we fully embrace will at last enable us to achieve the kind of happiness we all want. A happiness that endures no matter what.


August: Happiness Happens Month
September: Self Improvement Month
Sept 13: Positive Thinking Day
Sept 21: World Gratitude Day
October 5: World Smile Day
October 10: World Mental Health Day
November 6-12: Pursuit of Happiness Day
Nov 13: World Kindness Day


Alex Lickerman, MD, is a primary care physician, former assistant professor of medicine, former director of primary care, and former assistant vice president for Student Health and Counseling Services at the University of Chicago. Dr. Lickerman currently leads a direct primary care practice in Chicago called ImagineMD. Alex’s first book, The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self, received numerous favorable reviews from many sources, including Publishers Weekly. A noted speaker and media expert, he has been quoted in Crain’s ChicagoBusiness, The Chicago Tribune, Men’s Health, The New York Times, and TIME, and has had articles appear in Psychology Today, Crain’s Chicago Business, USA Today, Slate, The Huffington Post, Counselor Magazine, and Medicine on the Midway. He’s also been a guest on NPR’s On Point. He’s written a television pilot called Sessions that was optioned by DreamWorks Television, as well as several movie screenplays, including an adaptation of Milton’s Paradise Lost. Dr. Lickerman lives in Chicago with his wife, Rhea, and son Cruise.

Ash ElDifrawi, Psy.D., has built a reputation as a thought leader in clinical, social, and consumer psychology. He began his career as a clinical psychologist before transitioning into work as a marketing executive for some of the most prestigious and innovative companies in the world. Dr. ElDifrawi received his bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in social science from the University of Chicago, where he also conducted clinical research in the areas of neurology and bio-psychology. He earned his doctorate in clinical psychology from the Chicago School of Psychology, completed his internship at the world-renowned Family Institute at Northwestern, and then went on to be the inaugural fellow at the equally renowned Center for Family Health at the University of Chicago. Dr. ElDifrawi is still a licensed clinical psychologist.

After transitioning to a career in marketing, he has held senior positions at companies including: Google, McKinsey, Wrigley, Gogo, and currently Redbox. He’s been featured in The Economist, Forbes, Bloomberg, Fast Money, WSJ, New York Times, CNBC, Mashable, Crain’s, Marketwatch, and Re/Code. Dr. ElDifrawi also co-wrote a television pilot called Sessions that was optioned by DreamWorks Television. Dr. EIDifrawi lives in Hinsdale, Illinois, with wife, Amy, and two children.


The Ten Worlds is one of the most insightful modern books on the pursuit of happiness I’ve ever read. Alex and Ash expertly weave interesting research, ancient wisdom, and real world examples to create a better framework for understanding how we pursue happiness and what’s really getting in the way of our finding it, yielding numerous valuable ‘a-ha’ moments about ourselves and our loved ones.” —Shawn Achor, New York Times bestselling author of Big Potential and The Happiness Advantage

“Some books tell great stories but aren’t grounded enough in research to be believable. Some books have great research but are too dry. This one is different. Captivating stories. Compelling research. I am in awe of how well-written, fascinating, and valuable The Ten Worlds is. A must read for all interested in finding the path to happiness and enlightenment.” —Dave Kerpen, New York Times bestselling author of The Art of People and Likeable Social Media