THE TEN WORLDS: The New Psychology of Happiness (HCI)

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 explain in this eminently practical and groundbreaking new book 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 beliefs—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.


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 AchorNew 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 KerpenNew York Times bestselling author of The Art of People and Likeable Social Media

“What a remarkable work! What obstacles, traps, or delusions get in the way of your happiness? The Ten Worlds will not give you easy answers to this question, but real ones. By reading this book—and following its wise advice—you may just find your path to happiness.”

—Tal Ben-ShaharNew York Times bestselling author of Happier and Choose the Life You Want

“In this highly informative and eminently readable book, Drs. Alex Lickerman and Ash ElDifrawi argue convincingly that happiness isn’t determined by what happens to us, but rather by what we believe about what happens to us. Filled with compelling stories, backed up by up-to-date research, and sprinkled with timeless wisdom, The Ten Worlds is a book that provides both practical insights and actionable steps for finding happiness that can’t be destroyed by anything.”

—Steven Julius, Ph.D., President and CEO, Human Resource Consulting Group and former Director of Player Program Development, Chicago Bulls

“If you are on a path to seeking happiness, this is the book for you. The authors brilliantly and creatively mix the evidence of science and the narrative of story to uncover what we need to know to experience greater happiness in our lives. Many of my clients and students believe that ‘happiness is out of reach,’ but I shall recommend this book to them to let them know that it’s within their reach. Ash and Alex are to be congratulated for guiding their readers to experience greater happiness in their lives and in the lives of others.”

—Marty Martin, Psy.D., associate professor, DePaul University, speaker, and author of Taming Disruptive Behavior

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THE UNDEFEATED MIND: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self (HCI)

In The Undefeated Mind, physician Alex Lickerman draws on the tenets of both Nichiren Buddhism and new scientific research to argue that resilience isn’t something with which only a fortunate few of us have been born, but rather something we can all take action to develop. Offering a set of guidelines not for solving problems but for establishing a life state that makes all problems solvable, The Undefeated Mind details nine principles we can all use to dramatically increase our ability to withstand adversity. In telling the stories of patients who’ve used these principles to overcome suffering caused by unemployment, unwanted weight gain, addiction, rejection, chronic pain, retirement, illness, loss, and even death, The Undefeated Mind shows readers how they too can make these principles function within their own lives, whether they have any interest in practicing Buddhism or not. Read a sample chapter.


Publishers’ Weekly


“Alex Lickerman mines life’s greatest challenges with an artist’s eye, a scientist’s rigor, and a Buddhist’s wise hand. The result is a book that I could not stop reading. Dr. Lickerman’s unique gifts as a writer, doctor, and scientific thinker make for an epiphany-studded quest to tame his own mind and to enter and commune with the minds of others. The result is a book like no other: profound, compassionate, and inspiring.”

—Kaja Perina, editor-in-chief of Psychology Today

“Buddhism and Western medicine would seem an incongruous mixture, but in the hands of Alex Lickerman they meld seamlessly into a recipe for overcoming life’s hardships—indeed, for turning them into advantages. An accomplished physician, Lickerman has no truck for the supernatural, but recognizes that the tenets of Nichiren Buddhism have been honed over centuries to help alleviate life’s inevitable sufferings. The Undefeated Mind is a deeply engaging story of how Lickerman has fused modern medicine with ancient wisdom to heal his patients both physically and psychologically—lessons that apply to all of us.”

—Jerry Coyne, author of Why Evolution is True

“Eastern religious practices such as chanting are often brushed aside as ‘mysticism’ by Western science. In this highly original book based on extensive case studies, Lickerman effectively bridges these two great traditions, providing novel insights along the way regarding how we can all triumph over the psychological impact of adversity and live joyfully, even in this ‘vale of tears.’”

—V. S. Ramachandran, author of the New York Times bestseller The Tell-Tale Brain

“Dr. Lickerman beautifully weaves Eastern and Western wisdom, rigorous research, and poetic storytelling in The Undefeated Mind. This is a book that can help you become stronger and happier.”

—Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD., bestselling author of Choose the Life You Want