We present an overview and some new applications of the approximation by conjugation method introduced by Anosov and Katok more than 30 years ago (Trans. Moscow Math. Soc. 23 (1970), 1–35). Michel Herman made important contributions to the development and applications of this method beginning from the construction of minimal and uniquely ergodic diffeomorphisms jointly with Fathi (Asterisque 49 (1977), 37–59) and continuing with exotic invariant sets of rational maps of the Riemann sphere (J. London Math. Soc. (2) 34 (1986), 375–384) and the construction of invariant tori with non-standard and unexpected behavior in the context of KAM theory (Pitman Research Notes Mathematical Series 243 (1992); Proc. Int. Congr. Mathematicians (Berlin, 1998) Vol. 11, 797–808). Recently the method has been experiencing a revival. Some of the new results presented in the paper illustrate variety of uses for tools available for a long time, others exploit new methods, in particular the possibility of mixing in the context of Liouvillean dynamics discovered by the first author (Ergod. Th. & Dynam. Sys. 22 (2002) 437–468; Proc. Amer. Math. Soc. 130 (2002), 103–109).