The chemistry of group 14 element(ii) hydride complexes has rapidly expanded since the first stable example of such a compound was reported in 2000. Since that time it has become apparent that these systems display remarkable reactivity patterns, in some cases mimicking those of late transition-metal (TM) hydride compounds. This is especially so for the hydroelementation of unsaturated organic substrates. Recently, this aspect of their reactivity has been extended to the use of group 14 element(ii) hydrides as efficient, "TM-like" catalysts in organic synthesis. This review will detail how the chemistry of these hydride compounds has advanced since their early development. Throughout, there is a focus on the importance of ligand effects in these systems, and how ligand design can greatly modify a coordinated complex's electronic structure, reactivity, and catalytic efficiency.