Alkylarenes, obtained from abundant hydrocarbon feedstock sources, are an attractive starting material for the formation of complex molecular architectures. Conventional activation strategies of the relatively inert sp3-hybridized benzylic C–H bonds usually require relatively harsh conditions and are difficult to apply to the synthesis of fine chemicals. The present review describes recent strategic advances for the activation of benzylic C–H bonds for the catalytic formation of C–C bonds. In particular, two activation methods, i.e., strategies that generate benzylic radicals or benzyl anions, are discussed.
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