Innovative ideas don't come from reading yesterday's business headlines. They come from human nature and learning to see the opportunities to do things differently.

So says Mary Claire Allvine, a certified financial planner and author of The Family CFO: A Business Plan for Love and Money. Rather than reading financial news every day, Allvine advises, entrepreneurs can benefit from reading "human things instead. Read broadly and voraciously and creatively."

Top business school professors seem to take that advice to heart. Here's a look at what some of them read this summer, from natural history to fiction to inspirational nonfiction.

Consider it your end-of-summer reading list.

1. Ghachar Ghochar, by Vivek Shanbhag

Recommended by Mihir Desai, Harvard Business School.

Ghachar Ghochar is a fictional rags-to-riches account of a family in Bangalore. It resonates on many levels, from the cultural realities of contemporary India to running a successful spice company to the personal and familial consequences of newfound wealth.

2. Sharing the Work, by Myra Strober

Recommended by Christine Exley, Harvard Business School.

Imagine studying concepts and practices that didn't even have a name yet. That was the pioneering work of Strober, who spoke out about sexual harassment, occupational discrimination, quantifying the value of work in the home, and the cost of discrimination. She touches on all of them in Sharing the Work.

3. The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben

Recommended by Fiona Scott Morton, Yale School of Management.

The big idea in The Hidden Life of Trees? A forest of trees communicate through a vast and intricate network embedded in microbes in the soil. The microbes spread information, from how the forest raises young trees to fending off dangerous intruders to the effective distribution of nutrients. A fascinating and well-written account of life underground.

4. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown

Recommended by Joe Lassiter, Harvard Business School.

It's been around for a few years already, but Boys in the Boat still makes its way onto business-focused reading lists for its detailed and dramatic underdog telling of scrappiness and grit in a battle of David-and-Goliath proportions.

5. Old Filth, by Jane Gardam

Recommended by Janet Cooper Alexander, Stanford.

Book one in a trilogy by the same name; "Filth" is an acronym for Failed In London Try Hong Kong." Spanning both the century and the life of Sir Edward Feathers, Old Filth follows the main character through his childhood in Malaya during the heyday of the British Empire, to schooling in prewar England, to professional success in Southeast Asia, to widowed old age in Dorset.