Hello everyone,

Wilson’s insight is supported by research in psychology on the power of reference groups. It shows that whether we realize it or not, answers to the question “How well am I doing?” or “Am I on track?” are inherently comparative. We believe ourselves to be rich or poor, talented or average, strong or weak by comparison with others around us. Witness people’s reactions to how much they are paid relative to their peer groups, or the bonding that happens in groups that, like the Young Presidents Organization, bring together people who share common concerns.

Does “bonding” simply mean “relationship”? If so, what could be so special about it in this context?

Thank you.

close relationship, brought about by a commonality.

In addition: I think it implies more than just ‘relationship’: “the process by which individuals become emotionally attached to one another”. That is a kind of link based on shared feelings, interests or experiences—“ the film has some great male bonding scenes”.
In sports, a manager is referred to as great if he manages to properly bond with his charges. Chemistry provides a good example (to me) in bonding molecular orbitals: ones formed by the addition of overlapping of atomic orbitals—‘overlapping’ being the operative word…

Beeesneees, Eugene2114, thank you.

Well, but the combination of “people’s reactions to how much they are paid relative to their peer groups” (maybe I’m wrong, but I feel some negative connotation here) and “the bonding that happens in groups that, like the Young Presidents Organization” (here I feel something really positive) still sounds a bit odd to me.

I don’t see any negative connotation here, just psychology. People tend to compare oneselves with others: if you’re paid less than those of your peer group–a group of people who share similar characteristics and interests—you feel hard done by (unfairly treated). No matter how much you earn, even if more than enough.
The researchers assess how much this possible disparity in pay affects people, and how much “the bonding that happens in groups” does. (You may feel those whose opinions are of special importance to you are more successful for example).
Both factors influence your opinion about how talented\successful you are.
It can be otherwise: you’re more successful, and start patronizing your peers.

“How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others—and Feel Happier!” (seems a great bit of advice to me).

Thank you, Eugene.

I’d just like to point out that’s exactly what I indicated when I stated ‘based on a commonality’.