In studying the evolution of organic chemistry and grasping its essence, one comes quickly to the conclusion that no other type of reaction plays as large a role in shaping this domain of science than carbon-carbon bond-forming reactions. The Grignard, Diels-Alder, and Wittig reactions are but three prominent examples of such processes, and are among those which have undeniably exercised decisive roles in the last century in the emergence of chemical synthesis as we know it today. In the last quarter of the 20th century, a new family of carbon-carbon bond-forming reactions based on transition-metal catalysts evolved as powerful tools in synthesis. Among them, the palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions are the most prominent. In this Review, highlights of a number of selected syntheses are discussed. The examples chosen demonstrate the enormous power of these processes in the art of total synthesis and underscore their future potential in chemical synthesis.