Phosphoinositides (PIs) make up only a small fraction of cellular phospholipids, yet they control almost all aspects of a cell's life and death. These lipids gained tremendous research interest as plasma membrane signaling molecules when discovered in the 1970s and 1980s. Research in the last 15 years has added a wide range of biological processes regulated by PIs, turning these lipids into one of the most universal signaling entities in eukaryotic cells. PIs control organelle biology by regulating vesicular trafficking, but they also modulate lipid distribution and metabolism via their close relationship with lipid transfer proteins. PIs regulate ion channels, pumps, and transporters and control both endocytic and exocytic processes. The nuclear phosphoinositides have grown from being an epiphenomenon to a research area of its own. As expected from such pleiotropic regulators, derangements of phosphoinositide metabolism are responsible for a number of human diseases ranging from rare genetic disorders to the most common ones such as cancer, obesity, and diabetes. Moreover, it is increasingly evident that a number of infectious agents hijack the PI regulatory systems of host cells for their intracellular movements, replication, and assembly. As a result, PI converting enzymes began to be noticed by pharmaceutical companies as potential therapeutic targets. This review is an attempt to give an overview of this enormous research field focusing on major developments in diverse areas of basic science linked to cellular physiology and disease.