We show how the correlations of a quantum system with other quantum systems may cause one of its observables to behave in a classical manner. In particular, "reduction of the wave packet," postulated by von Neumann to explain definiteness of an outcome of an individual observation, can be explained when a realistic model of an apparatus is adopted. Instead of an isolated quantum apparatus with a number of states equal to the number of possible distinct outcomes of the measurement, discussed by von Neumann, we consider an apparatus interacting with other physical systems, described here summarily as "environment." The interaction of the quantum apparatus with the environment results in correlations. Correlations impose effective superselection rules which prevent apparatus from appearing in a superposition of states corresponding to different eigenvalues of the privileged pointer observable. It is the propagation of the correlations with the pointer basis states which is ultimately responsible for the choice of the pointer observable. It can be thought of as a process of amplification in which the state of many distinct physical systems becomes correlated with the pointer basis state. Whether these environment systems are regarded as a part of the apparatus setup, or as a part of its environment is irrelevant. What is crucial is the redundancy of the record concerning the pointer observable which is imprinted into the correlations. Eigenspaces of the pointer observable provide a natural basis for the pointer of the quantum apparatus and determine the to-be-measured observable of the quantum system. Decay of those elements of the apparatus-system density matrix, which are off-diagonal in the pointer observable, is caused by the natural evolution of the combined system-apparatus-environment object. For a hypothetical finite environment with N distinct eigenvalues of the apparatus-environment interaction Hamiltonian, off-diagonal terms will decay to become of the order of N-12, and will recur only on a Poincaré time scale. No recurrences will be observed in realistic circumstances. As the correlations spread through the environment on a time scale typically much shorter than the recurrence time scale calculated for the environment already correlated with the pointer observable, the measurement becomes effectively irreversible. Relevance of this model of the measurement process for the understanding of the second law of thermodynamics and its relation to Bohr's "irreversible act of amplification" is briefly discussed. The emergence of the pointer observable can be interpreted as a clue about the resolution of the measurement problem in case of no environment. It points towards the possibility that properties of quantum systems have no absolute meaning. Rather, they must be always characterized with respect to other physical systems.