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Deborah Mattinson is a Founder Director of BritainThinks, and its international arm, WorldThinks, consultancies specialising in market research, strategy and citizen, consumer and employee engagement. Prior to that she managed the Chime Groups research division, having co-founded research agency, Opinion Leader, and CSR strategy specialist, the Smart Company. She was an advisor to Labour for more than twenty years, working with Neil Kinnock, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

She writes and broadcasts frequently on public opinion and political polling. Her book, Talking to a Brick Wall, chronicles her experience as a Labour pollster and illustrates the gap between the Westminster Village and the public.

Three favourite books:

1. My top comfort read would be anything by Jane Austin. Like most people I love Pride and Prejudice, but Mansfield Park - read on one sitting when I was 14 or 15 - remains my all-time favourite.

2. Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing - read when I was at University and discovering politics, love and much more. I felt I would never be the same again after reading it. I'm almost afraid to reread it now.

3. I love political biography. My favourite ever is A Time of My Life by Denis Healey. Informative, witty and erudite - evidence of the importance of the 'hinterland' that he feared he had too much of. How many politicians nowadays would be better at what they do - and probably happier - if they had just a little bit of hinterland too?


Talking to a Brick Wall