Some secular books have a hefty amount of wisdom that we find in our Torah sources. For example, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has a lot of almost verbatim lessons from Pirkei Avos, although the author is not basing himself on Torah sources.
I imagine that one would not make a birkas haTorah before learning these sources, whereas one would make a birkas haTorah before learning the same thing in Pirkei Avos. Similarly, I imagine that reading a book like this would be allowed in the bathroom, whereas learning Pirkei Avos in the bathroom is not allowed.
Are these assumptions false? And if not, what is the reason for the difference between learning these two sources?