Asymmetric homogeneous catalysis forms one of the main planks of modern organic synthesis. It has developed rapidly and largely through the application of novel ligands, whose design is very much based on insight and intuition. At the same time, a better understanding of catalytic reaction mechanisms can contribute to further progress, since it can identify the intimate relationship between ligand structure and successful applications. The presentation will concentrate on the author's research with complexes of the late transition metals and include the search for superior methodologies in hydroboration, as well as ventures into the chemistry of reactive intermediates. The latter will be exemplified from work with rhodium and palladium catalysts.