Kinases control virtually all aspects of biology. Forty-eight human proteins have a kinase-like domain that lacks at least one of the conserved catalytic residues; these proteins are therefore predicted to be inactive and have been termed pseudokinases. Here, we describe exciting work suggesting that pseudokinases, despite lacking the ability to phosphorylate substrates, are still pivotal in regulating diverse cellular processes. We review evidence that the pseudokinase STRAD controls the function of the tumour suppressor kinase LKB1 and that a single amino acid substitution within the pseudokinase domain of the tyrosine kinase JAK2 leads to several malignant myeloproliferative disorders. We also discuss the emerging functions of other pseudokinases, including HER3 (also called ErbB3), EphB6, CCK4 (also called PTK7), KSR, Trb3, GCN2, TRRAP, ILK and CASK.